It obvious to everyone, of course, that “artisan,” when applied to Dunkin’ Donuts bagels or Tostitos chips or Domino’s pizzas, is a laughably transparent ploy — a shameless buzzword used by marketers in their endless, desperate lather to sell more bad products. At least Domino’s, which launched an ad campaign last month for its Artisan Pizza, admitsthat it is using the term “with a wink and a smile.” The irony is mixed at best, though. While the box proclaims, “We don’t wear black berets, cook with wood-fired ovens or apprentice with the masters in Italy,” there’s also a line on it where the store manager is supposed to give his hand-written imprimatur. (By the way – black berets? Really? Who is writing copy over there? Ernie Bushmiller?)
I mention Domino’s not to single them out for mockery, which would be about as courageous as making Kardashian jokes. No, I actually think that Domino’s is the most interesting and proactive of fast-food chains. (Can you imagine McDonald’s announcing that it was changing its hamburger recipe?) So when Domino’s got on board the artisan trend in such an oddly ambivalent way, I took notice.